Here a some practical considerations for weaning – with a focus on baby-led weaning.
1. Be patient
It takes some time for babies to get used to solid foods. My baby just played with her food mostly and seemed to spit everything out for the first two months. She was practicing her gag reflex and learning how to manage food in her mouth.
2. Manage food poisoning risks
Always use clean hands, utensils, and serving dishes, cook meat, egg and fish thoroughly. Be extra cautious about leftovers and pre-prepared foods- if you are going to use them you need to heat them thoroughly to kill the germs and then leave them to cool enough for baby to tolerate without letting them spoil.
Always supervise your baby while eating. Never let your baby eat unattended.
3. Eat together
Try to have at least one meal a day with your baby, as a family. Baby’s learn through imitation and association.
4. Let them decide
Let your baby decide what she likes or dislikes, never force feed your baby.
5. Repeated exposure works
Offer a food another day that your baby has previously refused! They may need to see or try a new food several times before liking it
6. Introduce common allergy risk foods
It’s a good idea to introduce common allergy risk foods one at a time and watch for the appearance of any symptoms for the next three days: Rash or eczema, redness or nappy rash, runny nose, rubbing nose, change in poohs, sinus congestion, irritable unsettled baby, upset tummy or diarrhea, cramps or colic like symptoms. If you have a family history of food allergy or sensitivities then here are the most common culprits: wheat, dairy, Citrus fruits, Chocolate, Salicylates (as in aspirin), Foods in the nightshade family (white potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines, peppers), Paracetamol, Tartrazine (E102), Benzoic acid (E210) and monosodium glutamate (MSG/E621), soya, nuts (peanuts and cashews predominantly), honey.
My little one is now nearly 12 months and here is a list of her favourite weaning foods:
- Broccoli and cauliflower florets
- Roast sweet potato and pumpkin sticks
- Stewed organic beef strips or chicken
- Cottage pie
- Rice and lentils
- Cooked Beans (black beans, kidney beans, barlotti beans, butter beans)
- Steamed carrot batons
- Lemon slices
- Nut spread, (almond, hazelnut, brazil nut and cashew)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Crispbread (like Cruskits)
- Oat bread
- Porridge (oats)
She surprised me once by grabbing a whole squid and putting it in her mouth, and she loves olives!